Since time immemorial, our Hindu Shaastras (Scriptures) have been extolling the virtues of Bhagwan Sri Ramachandra who, in the Holy Ramayana, is referred to as “Mariyaada Purushottama” which means an ideal son, a virtuous ruler, a noble husband and a caring brother.
It is all good and well to wear new clothing and eat all kinds of delicious sweetmeats and goodies in observance of Diwali but are we wearing and displaying the ‘new clothing’ of nobility, humility, fairness, respect, empathy, honesty, integrity, caring and sharing in our daily lives? Are our thoughts, words and deeds ‘sweet’ and in harmony? Unless we do, we are wasting our time. We need to conduct a self-analysis and introspection everyday and not only on holy days such as Diwali, to measure whether we had become better, nobler and more caring Divine Beings when compared to Diwali last year. Unless we improve and put into practice the great and life-changing message of Lord Rama and the Ramayana, we will simply be going through the motions of observing such a great occasion ritualistically and the occasion will become just another tamasha! Diwali also offers us an opportunity to measure our progress in terms of overcoming the darkness of our vices and negative qualities such as anger, greed, jealousy, hatred, intolerance, envy, lust, etc. With the assistance of the Divine Light of spiritual knowledge that can be gained by studying our holy scriptures like the Ramayana and Bhagavad Gita, we can overcome these ‘dark’ forces mentioned above.
My Divine Master, Lord and God, Bhagwan Sri Sathya Sai Baba, had always advocated that we should not feed the well-fed and I fully subscribe to this. What really occurs during Diwali? Families exchange trays of goodies and other sumptuous eats with each other and this can sometimes lead to a kind of competition where ‘my tray is better than yours.’ Why don’t we do things differently from now onwards? Let us resolve to hand such trays and eats to the less-fortunate in our families, neighbourhoods and country…this would be a tangible and concrete effort in really bringing joy and light into somebody’s darkness of hunger, poverty and sadness. I am sure that we can then continue to sustain this throughout the year if we can afford it, and we will not undertake such activities only once a year during Diwali. This, to me, is how the occasion of Diwali can be used to let Divine Light prevail.
Let also be mindful of what Lord Jesus Christ had said:” Let your light so shine forth that others may see and follow.” This Diwali, let us resolve to do just this: let us become beacons of hope to those less-fortunate and downtrodden among us who require our light and hope! Let us also be mindful of and be courteous and respectful towards others as well as towards our pets when using fireworks. Let us remember that Bhagwan Sri Ramachandra would frown upon us if we do not live His Message of love, truth, non-violence, right-conduct and peace. We must remember too that if there’s love and peace in our hearts and homes; then God Himself will take residence there! He will then come looking for us and not the other way around just as the Lord sought Sri Hanumanji who was His greatest devotee and who only lived to serve Lord Rama no matter what!
The glorious, unsurpassed, divine and epic story of the Ramayana is not only there to be spoken of and watched on DVD/TV but, more importantly, it is there to be emulated and LIVED! We can learn how to be respectful and obedient to our parents to whom we are indebted for all that they had done for us. Remember that Sri Rama did not question or disobey His father when asked to go the forest for 14 years. We can learn to care for and respect our siblings and fellow travellers on this journey called life. We also need to understand that we had taken this human birth, which is the pinnacle of God’s creation, to learn how not to be reborn; to remember that “Hands that serve are holier than lips that pray,” and that “Service to man is service to God.” Taking out the Holy Ramayana once a year, dusting it and offering arathi to it, just won’t do! We need to make a concerted effort to read, study, assimilate and practice the philosophy of the Ramayana so that we can become better human beings. It always amazes me that the Ramayana is read at funerals and the irony in most cases is that the deceased had never once even ventured to read and understand the grand and glorious message of this beautiful scripture. To me, religion is for the living…not for the dead!
Our prayer to Lord Rama and Mother Sita this Diwali should be as follows: “Dear God, I am born as a human being but I refuse to die as a human being…I will die as a Divine Being!” We must resolve to become ‘MAD’ which means to ‘Make a Difference’ or better still to become ‘MADD’, i.e., to ‘Make a Divine Difference’ to those in our homes, our workplace, neighbourhood, province, country and world. If we ever feel that we cannot make a significant change or effect eternity; then we should ask ourselves if we can sleep comfortably with one little mosquito in our bedroom. If one little mosquito can make such a difference, surely our efforts will also have the desired effect! Alvin Toffler, in his management book titled “The Third Wave”, speaks of ‘The Butterfly Effect’ where a little fragile butterfly that flaps its wings in some remote corner of the world, creates vibrations in the atmosphere and these vibrations then gather momentum, snowballs and results in a storm, hurricane or gale force wind in another part of the world. Surely we too can make a difference on this planet. We can start by changing ourselves and by leading by inspiring example; this can then be extended to our families, friends and relatives, workplace, neighbourhood, province and the world. Nothing is impossible if only we possess the Divine Will to do it!
It is my sincere prayer that Lord Rama and my Master, Bhagwan Sri Sathya Sai Baba, will shower you and your family with Divine Love, Divine Light, Spiritual Knowledge and Abundance this Diwali and beyond. May you always revel in the glorious, effulgent Divine Light and May all your thoughts, words and actions reflect this always!
Jai Sai Ram! God Bless!
by Teddy Kommal
Editor: SUTRA Magazine